Since arriving in Holland, Id taken a week recovery to get over the two tours I’d just competed in; The Giro and Thuringen. I ended up pulling up really tired after the German tour so the week’s rest was great and sorely needed. After an easy week I was finally keen for some more training and racing, so I started it off with one of the Dutch post tour crits (post Tour de France).
These crits are wild and crazy, with around 100-130 female entrants riding on circuits of around 1km. The track is bricked and cobbled and I’m pretty sure the organisers choose the roughest courses with the maximum numbers of corners throughout. This makes the crits exceptionally technical and extremely fast as the girls race tough over here, attacking throughout the entire race, which is generally 50-60km. There’s plenty of team work played out too. I did three of these crits while in Holland, with the first being a bit of a re entry into racing after my week off. It was the most painful race I have done in my life. I was in the box the entire time and my legs were screaming. I don’t even know where I placed at the end of that one but it was around 30th position… not a good memory and not a result worthy of adding to the CV!
The second criterium was much easier having adjusted to the experience from the first crit. I felt pretty good this day, but I failed to make the first holding break. Later in the race I attacked and got away with a group of four, we worked together to bring back the break and finally caught the lead girls with 3 laps to go. At the end of the crit it came down to a sprint and I placed 9th which was pretty good. It was a great race and I had a lot of fun…obviously the result was descent but there were crowds skirting the entire racecourse. Everyone was having a great time listening to music, drinking beer, eating hamburgers and frites and mayo. It was a really social event and a lot of fun for everyone!
The third crit I competed in was probably a more typical Dutch race, insofar as it rained the entire time. A total of 90 girls started the crit and I think about 15 girls finished. The pace was on and in the second lap I got my wheels stuck in between some bricks and my bike skated along a lip in the brickwork of the road. Somehow I managed to get out of the gutter and keep the bike up but I was spooked for the rest of the race. The near miss, plus watching girls literally ride off the slippery roads into the barricades in every lap, was mega off putting and I figured that the risk of falling for prize money, the equivalent of around 50 Aussie dollars, just wasn’t worth it. I pulled the pin on the race and went and drowned my sorrows with a disgusting cup of coffee (easily found in Holland) and a really great apple pie.
Dutch fans watching the Post Tour crits – yes they are clogs his wearing!
Getting ready for one of the crits.
Emma Mackie and I.